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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt


HYDE PARK, Wednesday—It seems to me unfortunate that India has so uncompromisingly stated its position on the treaty with Japan.

None of us in the United States should ignore the necessities that home politics put upon a leader who wishes to remain in power and probably feels justified in this wish. And I am quite sure that Prime Minister Nehru is genuinely interested in the good of the people of India. Perhaps it is foolish for someone who has never been to India and is so far away—as it true with many of us who live in the United States—even to try to understand what are the motivations lying back of the present proceedings in India.

It seems important to me, however, to try to think as objectively as we can about this situation because India is a key state in the Communist march to control the underdeveloped areas of the world. I suppose it must be true that there are hundreds of Prime Minister Nehru's advisers and followers who have great influence with him, and with their own followers in India who have never been out of India, let alone visited the United States.

This must make it as difficult for them to understand us and our motives as it is for us to understand their religious difficulties and their political inhibitions.

They fought for years for the freedom of India. That was achieved but, in achieving it, India was divided and there is bitter rivalry today between the two parts of India. This was evidenced by the speeches by the respective Ambassadors of India and Pakistan to the United States in the past few days.

I think it would be better for the whole of India if there had never been a partition. But in that case India would have had to accept the fact as well as in theory the complete equality of all religions and all races, and as far as one can read that has never been the case.

Now comes India's decision to abstain from the ratification of the Japanese pact and go it alone.

I can understand the desire of the Asians to feel that they are no longer subservient to Western powers, and if India had asked for certain reasonable modifications or time limits I think her request would have been considered.

The Indian people are back of Nehru's pacifist stand and want to placate the Soviet Union and Communist China. They have not as yet apparently realized that one is for or against communism, just as one is for or against God, and that there is no such thing as placating a Communist power.

If India does not join with the free nations of the world, she will find herself in a position someday where she will have to join the Communist nations and that may divide her internally even more violently than she is already divided. There is no reason why India should listen to an opinion expressed by me or by any statesmen of the Western countries, but there is every reason why every Indian statesman should think with care on the steps now being taken by Indian leadership.

It is almost impossible to be neutral in this particular situation.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 30, 1951

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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